Among the many catalogs of museum collections, few describe objects related to the practice of medicine.
This catalog is the first of a series on the medical sciences collections in the National Museum of History and
Technology (NMHT). Bloodletting objects vary from ancient sharp-edged instruments to the spring action and
automatic devices of the last few centuries. These instruments were used in a variety of treatments supporting
many theories of disease and therefore reflect many varied aspects of the history of medicine.
The tombstone, dated 1437, stands in the churchyard of St.
John’s Church in Nuremberg, Germany. The inscription on it
hints at a terrible tragedy that has taken place there:
Was that not sad and painful to relate,
I died with thirteen of my family on the same date?
Such was the effect of a devastating pestilence that had
swept through not only the city of Nuremberg but almost all
of Europe and much of Asia as well, starting a hundred years
The struggle of man against his unseen and silent enemies, the lower or bacterial forms of life, once one
becomes alive to it, has an irresistible fascination. More dramatic than any novel, more sombre and terrifying
than a battle fought in the dark, would be the intimate picture of the battle of our bodies against the hosts of
MOST humbly offer to You my Thoughts concerning the Prevention of the Plague, which I have put
together by your Command. As soon as you were pleased to signify to me, in his Majesty's Absence, that their
Excellencies the Lords Justices thought it necessary for the publick Safety, upon the Account of the Sickness
now in France, that proper Directions should be drawn up to defend our selves from such a Calamity; I most
readily undertook the Task, though upon short Warning, and with little L
The following Relation having been sent to us by Messieurs Chicoyneau, Verney and Soullier, deputed by the
Court for the Relief of our City afflicted with the Plague: We Charles Claude de Andrault de LANGERON,
Knight and Commander of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Chief Commander of the King's Galleys, Field
Marshal, and Marshal of his Majesty's Armies, Commandant in the City of Marseilles, and the Territories